1st Edition

The Fascist State of Mind and the Manufacturing of Masculinity  A psychoanalytic approach

By Christina Wieland Copyright 2015
    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Fascist State of Mind and the Manufacturing of Masculinity: A psychoanalytic approach attempts to describe in psychoanalytic terms the psychological consequences of massive social trauma and national humiliation, and the regression that takes place within the individual under these circumstances. The book is not about understanding fascism as a historical, political or sociological phenomenon, but about understanding the special relationship between masculinity and fascism and the state of mind which both shaped, and was shaped by, the historical phenomenon of fascism.

    Christina Wieland explores fascism as a product of certain forms of masculinity and focuses on the dynamics of masculinity as a mode of psychic functioning. She examines in detail masculine anxieties and defences and their interaction with stresses of modernity and with the social and political unrest that followed World War One.

    The Fascist State of Mind and the Manufacturing of Masculinity is divided into four parts:

    Part One – The meaning of fascism and the fascist state of mind – theories and definitions

    Part Two – Masculinity, its meaning and its vulnerability

    Part Three – Group and group theory, and the total environment

    Part Four – Exploring the links between masculinity, groups and fascism

    The Fascist State of Mind and the Manufacturing of Masculinity uses clinical material, literary texts, and extensive psychoanalytic interpretation of some passages from Mein Kampf to illustrate the interplay of the psychological processes with social and political events. This book will appeal to psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists, teachers and students of psychoanalysis and gender studies. It will also appeal to those interested in the application of psychoanalytic insights in the understanding of social and political phenomena.

    Introduction. Part I: The Fascist State of Mind. What is the fascist state of mind? Views of Historians and Social Scientists. Totalitarianism. Hannah Arendt’s Theory of Totalitarianism. The Fascist State of Mind: Early Psychoanalytic Views. The Fascist State of Mind: Contemporary Views. Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel’s Theory of Utopia and Totalitarianism. Fascism as a Group Phenomenon. Conclusion. Part II: Masculinity and its Discontents. Masculinity and Violence. The Masculine Dilemma. Oedipus and the Sphinx - Masculinity and the Retreat From the Oedipus Complex. Clinical Example. Discussion. Masculinity and the Fascist State of Mind. Conclusion. Mad Men and Warriors. Femininity, Aggression and Paranoia in the Male. Pentheus’ Deadly Transgression. Femininity and Paranoia in Senatspaesident Schreber. Masculinity in Psychoanalysis I. Theoretical and Clinical Considerations. Preliminary Remarks. Freud and Masculinity. Castration Anxiety - Narcissistic Wound or Separation Anxiety? Narcissistic Wholeness, Narcissistic Loss and Separation Anxiety. The Struggle to Accept Reality. The Wolfman. Melanie Klein’ Theory of Masculine Development - The Boy’s Early Relation to Mother. Masculinity in Psychoanalysis II. Contemporary Perspectives. The ‘Dis-identification’ Hypothesis. Critical Review of the Dis-identification Hypothesis. Vulnerability of Masculinity - Attacks and Defences. Re-Thinking the Oedipus Complex Discussion. Part III: Groups, Fascism and Masculinity. Groups and the Internal World. Preliminary remarks. Groups External and Internal. The Internal Group. The Lack of an Internal Space: Portrait of the Fuehrer as a Young Man. The Group as the Early Mother. Groups and Masculinity. The Homogenised Group. Groups, Masculinity and the Rise of Fascism.The Flaw in the Pattern. Homogeneous Groups. Total Projective Identification. Helplessness and Dependence. Pathological Organisations. The World of Perversion and the Strive for Homogeneity. Part IV: Masculinity and Fascism. Masculinity and the Fascist state of Mind. Masculinity, Humiliation and Violence. Men, Groups and Homogenization. Masculinity and Feminisation. Conclusion. Pact with the Devil - The Fascist State of Mind and the Manufacturing of Masculinity. The Destruction of the Object. Emptiness, Omnipotence, and Paranoia. The Jews. Epilogue - Hollow Men.


    Christina Wieland is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice, a training therapist, teacher and supervisor. She is a visiting Fellow and teaches at the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex.

    "This is a hugely interesting and provocative book that draws effectively on biographical, historical and clinical sources to make a convincing case on the intricate relationship between fascism and masculinity. Building on her previous work on masculinity and on her knowledge of psychopathology from her clinical work, Christina Wieland shows how the fascist state of mind exemplifies a particular solution to the male struggle to avoid being overwhelmed by a phantastic maternal presence that threatens masculinity in times of personal and societal trauma. Hitler’s personality and writings are used as examples of this state of mind in an attempt to understand why Hitler was the person in the right place at the right time, how he was just the sufficient mixture of charisma and craziness to overthrow common sense and tip a nation into societal and genocidal madness." - Bob Hinshelwood, Professor in the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex.

    "This is a valuable exploration of the madness at the heart of fascism. It employs psychoanalytic theory to generate new insights into the states of mind underlying totalitarian violence. It shows how a desperate pseudo-masculinity uses hatred and murder to stave off the collapse of selfhood, and adds to the foundations for a psychosocial understanding of contemporary extremisms." – Barry Richards, Professor of Public Communication, The Media School, Bournemouth University.

    "Dr Wieland has proposed a wholly new understanding of the fascist mind, by posing the problem of what made a fascist group, with its combination of merging into nationalism, normally thought of as feminine, and heroic militarism, normally thought of as masculine. Together, they fed an illusion of rebirth through war as a rebirth of masculinity from a masculine womb. The psychoanalytic study of fascism, which goes back to the fascist period, enters a new stage with her book."- Karl Figlio, Professor in the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, and a Senior Member of the British Psychotherapy Foundation.